The Scottsbluff Public School Board has settled a claim brought by a student in a case linked to the sexual assault conviction of a former golf coach.
During the regular meeting of the Scottsbluff Public Schools board of education on Monday, Feb. 10, the board approved a claim brought before the district by a former student. The claim is believed to be linked to the Michael Klein case, though the district has not clearly identified it as such.
In a statement within the board minutes, the board acknowledged payment for $1.764 million, paid from the district’s ALICAP fund, which is the district’s risk liability pool.
As part of the claim information, the district also stated the student’s name would not be released to protect her identity and her family. The student had been one of two victims that former golf coach Michael Klein had been convicted in November 2017 of sexually assaulting. Klein had been sentenced to 23 to 32 years in prison, on four counts of first-degree sexual assault, a Class II felony.
Within the board minutes, it states, “Jane Doe brought a claim for injury that occurred while Jane Doe was a student at Scottsbluff Public Schools.”
The minutes continue, “the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing or liability by the school district.”
When the Star-Herald requested comments about the claim settlement, district officials stated: “Scottsbluff Public Schools will not pay any amount of the settlement. This payment will have no fiscal impact on the Scottsbluff Public Schools’ assets, budget or property tax levy.”
“Scottsbluff Public Schools’ statement would also neither confirm nor deny the relation of the settlement with other district settlements and litigations,” the district said in the statement. “However, the district maintains their continuous efforts to review and evaluate policies, procedures and practices about student safety, staff hiring and training and law compliance.”
The student filed suit earlier this month against the Scotts Bluff Country Club and Klein, seeking damages. The former student, identified as Jane Doe, alleged in the suit that she had not been protected despite Klein having a previous history of inappropriate relationships with students. She alleged she had been assaulted while a member of the Scottsbluff High School golf team during 2016 and 2017. The Scottsbluff High School had not been a party in that lawsuit, however, another student, settled a lawsuit with the district in July 2019, also stemming from Klein’s conviction that he had sexually assaulted her over a three-year period while she was on the district’s golf team.
The district’s statement also states the involved parties settled the litigation to avoid the expenses associated with court trials.